One Life, Four Papers

We often talk about the need to declutter our lives, especially the vast amount of paper that seems to multiply right in front of us.

But there are some papers that should be kept – and kept in a safe place.

The four important papers are:

A will

Everyone should have a will, even if it’s a simple statement leaving everything to your spouse. And anything more complicated than that definitely needs to be spelled out in a last will and testament. If you don’t have a will, do yourself and your heirs a favor and get started on it today.

A power of attorney

A durable power of attorney is a written authorization you give to someone to act on your behalf in financial affairs, business matters, or other legal interests in case you are incapacitated. A power of attorney applies while you are alive; a will covers your intents after you are deceased.

A health care proxy

A health care proxy is a document that allows you to appoint someone, often a spouse or adult child, to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are incapable of making such decisions. Take a copy of your health care proxy with you when you go into the hospital for any reason, no matter how minor.

A living will

A living will is a legal document that allows you to make known your wishes concerning a variety of life-prolonging medical treatments.

Fill out the forms for each of these documents – they are all available online, sign them and have them witnessed. Keep the originals in a safe but convenient place and make copies to use and, more importantly, to give to your family members.

Organize your life now and decisions later on will be easier for you and for your family.

Linda Hetzer is an editor and author of books on home designcrafts, and food, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.

One Response

  1. […] is the best gift you can give them. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, make sure you have the four important papers updated and kept in a safe place. And make sure to create a list of all the important stuff in […]

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